August 2010 • Only a fool arrives in Korcula via ferry at night in August without a hotel reservation. Kicked myself for nearly two hours while a travel agent tried to find available accommodations. At the seemingly last minute, she came through with a spare apartment in the home of retired schoolteachers Marin and Mira, who turned out to be perfect hosts: friendly, helpful, sufficiently distant. Despite its popularity, Korcula still retains some old-world charm, and the island's roads are relatively car-free, making them ideal for a bike ride or aimless walk. After a couple of days, I went back to the travel agency and signed up for a day trip to the nearby island of Mljet. More biking and several lazy swims in a crystal-clear saltwater lake—then, true to form, I missed the boat back to Korcula and started another desperate search for a bed on a booked-up island. Came close to spending the night on the beach, al fresco, but a restaurant owner took pity and gave me a room in his place. He didn't gouge me, and in tribute I vowed to stop pushing my luck.
Between Korcula and Mljet